I’ll be traveling until next Monday.
I’m going to post videos each day.
Have a wonderful and blessed week. You guys are the best.
I’ll be traveling until next Monday.
I’m going to post videos each day.
Have a wonderful and blessed week. You guys are the best.
Imam Imad Enchassi
I think our local newspeople here in Oklahoma have done a fine job of presenting the news about the recent atrocity in our state. They have reported in a straightforward and factual manner. I actually put trust in what they are telling me to be the facts as they know them.
But the national cable news is so rotten with wing-nuttery from both sides of the spectrum that they couldn’t tell the straight facts if the straight facts would serve them best. The gossipy conflab from MSNBC that is shown in the video below reminds me of a bunch of college sophomores, swilling down cheap wine, smoking a toke and trying to outdo one another with their brilliant bits of sarcasm.
When you watch this, bear in mind that these people, who have enough news media gravitas to get on national news, are talking about the grisly murder of an innocent woman.
Did you watch?
In the words of my gay friends, Isn’t that just special?
Unlike the folks in this video, I’m not an absolute total and complete expert on Oklahoma. I’ve lived here all my life, and I have been a community leader in a statewide forum for much of that time, but I am a long way from being able to go on a national forum and give the rest of the world The Word about Oklahoma.
Here’s what I do think I know. I’ll just line it up one, two, three and let you decide how much weight you want to give it.
1. Islam has a problem, and its a big, bad violent problem. Violence against innocent people in the name of Islam is happening all over the world. It is so widespread and so intractable that it denies credence to the notion that it is caused by the societies in which it is happening. It appears, at least at first glance, to be something in Islam itself that is causing this.
2. This is not ubiquitous within Islam. I think the people who commit these dastardly acts (many of which are committed against other Muslims) are a minority of Muslims.
3. However, the peaceable majority does not appear to be able to control the violent ones in their midst. If anything, I get the sense that they are more afraid of them than anyone else.
4. I think this problem stems from the bad leadership of some Islamic religious leaders. I think it gains traction because of the factionalism within Islam.
5. Whatever the reason, this situation is real, and taking some pie-in-the-sky wing-nut position that anyone who talks about what is happening is a Muslim hater not only doesn’t help, it becomes a form of enabling to those who murder. From Jeffrey Dahmer, to ISIS, to Alton Nolen, murderers of innocent people do not need and should not have apologists flapping their yaps on the nightly news.
6. Oklahoma City was subjected to a black mass on September 21. Those who know about these things warned about the effect this might have on the community. Does this have anything to do with this beheading and the subsequent threat of beheading by Muslims in our community? I don’t know.
7. Whether the black mass contributed to this situation or not doesn’t matter in terms of what we do about it. What we do about it is put these two men before the law and let the law work.
8. What we do about the larger question of Islamic violence against innocent people is another question. I think the first thing we need to do is ask the Muslim community if they are willing and ready to stand against the preaching of violence in their places of worship, if they are willing to turn their backs on religious leaders who preach death and destruction.
I was touched by Imam Enchassi’s statement to the press. I hope with all my heart that it came from his heart and was totally genuine. I personally know a Muslim man who went door to door in his neighborhood after 9/11, introducing himself to his neighbors and assuring them that he stood with them, not the terrorists.
I think it must be hard to be trapped in a situation where violence is the public face of your faith.
I believe we should stand with those who are willing to take the chance to step out and speak against murder and violence. I think they are probably placing themselves in harm’s way by doing so.
At the same time, I am not given to denying the plain facts when I see them. The plain facts are that this is happening all over the world.
The situation is real. All the insulting on-air wing-nuttery conflab in the world can not change that.
We shouldn’t allow ourselves to be bullied by ideologues like those on that MSNBC panel. Neither should we give in to the primitive urge to cast all Muslims as murderers.
Above all, we should never, no matter what mask he assumes, fight satan with satan’s weapons. Jesus told us that Satan cannot cast out satan. We need to believe Him and act accordingly. We must use the gifts of the Holy Spirit: grace, love and peace, to drive this evil down. Every person who walks this planet is His child. That includes Muslims.
We need to get real about this, and that begins by talking honestly about what is happening, without the politically correct censorship.
Jah-Keem Yisrael is the name he wanted to be known by. Everyone else calls him Alton Nolen.
“Like any American, any Oklahoman, my heart was broken.” This comment came from Imad Enchassi, Senior Imam at the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City. This is the same place of worship Mr Nolen is standing in front of in the photo above.
I don’t know Imam Enchassi, but I have talked to him. He was one of the signatories of the pledge to work for an end to violence against women. This pledge was signed by religious leaders who attended the two Days of Prayer for an End to Violence Against Women that I helped organize. Imam Enchassi was not able to attend the Day of Prayer, but he came to my office afterwards and signed the pledge.
I understand that Islamic groups around the country have condemned this barbarous murder. However, I’m only really interested in what Imam Enchassi had to say. He’s our Oklahoma Islamic religious leader. His comments are in the interview in this story. I’m glad he gave this interview and spoke so feelingly about his reaction as a religious leader to this crime.
I couldn’t find a copy of this interview so I could link to it directly. If it’s on YouTube, I didn’t see it. I hope you follow this link and watch it for yourselves.
In other Oklahoma news, a second Muslim, this time an immigrant from Kenya, threatened to behead a coworker in the nursing home where he was employed. He’s now in jail. It chills me to think that this man was working in a nursing home, of all places.
We are one week out from the black mass and counting.
Here are a few videos related to the crime. It’s a random roundup, including one link to a story with a video from MSNBC, pulling their pants down to reveal their politically correct inanity in the face of tragedy.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper talks about Alton Nolen’s previous attack on her.
Alton Nolen’s mother makes a comment.
I couldn’t find a direct link to this, but you need to see it. It’s MSNBC commenters being total, absolute ninnies; pushing their politically correct agenda onto events with no regard for anything, including basic decency.
To put things in perspective, here is another comment (at an entirely different time and in another context) from the panel’s moderator, Melissa Harris.
Alton Nolen, aka Jah-Keem Yisrael.
Take a gander at Alton Nolen’s Facebook page before somebody takes it down.
He had been on parole for convictions for drugs, assault and battery on a police officer and attempted escape. He was given an early release from probation less than a month ago. His probation was originally scheduled to end in 2017.
At some point, he converted to Islam. It appears, from his Facebook page, that his interest had turned — in an approving way — to the violence and degradation being enacted on other people by ISIS and the various other terrorist groups making the news lately.
I’m guessing, based on his photos, that he was welcomed in the local Islamic community. Alongside photos of beheadings and gun-toting terrorists, he also posted notices of trips with his fellow Muslims to a local amusement park.
He was employed by Vaughn Foods. Knowing what I know of Oklahoma law, I would guess that this gainful employment played a part in his being given early release from probation. Shortly before he began his murderous rampage, Mr Nolen was fired from this job. Employees told the press that he and been trying to convert them to Islam in what sounds like an aggressive and harassing manner. I do not know if this is why he was fired.
He drove to the building where he began his killling, slamming into another car in the parking lot. He attacked, murdered and beheaded 54-year-old Colleen Hufford. He did not know Ms Hufford. He then attacked another co-worker, Traci Johnson.
Mark Vaughn, the company’s chief operating officer, used a rifle that he kept in his office to shoot Mr Nolen. Mr Nolen is in the hospital, recovering from his wounds.
I only have a few comments to make about this attack.
One: This is Oklahoma. We’re heavily armed here. Most Okies have guns and a lot of them pack. What that means is that, instead of screeching and yelling or wandering around helplessly, as bystanders have done in other parts of the world, this particular attack was stopped before more people died.
Two: This is Oklahoma. Mr Nolen is going to have to explain himself to an Oklahoma jury.
Three: This business of cherry-picking verses from holy books to justify horrible behavior can happen to any philosophy or faith. But it is happening 24/7 and all around the world to Islam. It is happening within this one faith far too consistently and in too many cultures and situations for it to simply be a random thing, or for the explanation to come from external forces.
I look to the religious leaders of Islam for both the cause and the resolution of this problem. Holy men teach holiness, not murder of innocents.
According to Breitbart, Mr Nolen is linked, at least indirectly, to Suhaib Webb, the former leader of the mosque that the Boston bombers attended. Mr Webb is said to have ties to al-Qaeda. This underscores my point that Islamic religious leaders are responsible for a great deal of this behavior.
Four: I hope that the Oklahoma Muslim community will offer condolences to the families of these two women. I think it would help the situation. Evidently one Muslim civic leader, went the other way. This kind of thing makes it even more important for responsible Muslim leaders to demonstrate that they do not share this thinking, but grieve for the loss of innocent life with the rest of Oklahoma.
Five: The FBI is investigating Mr Nolen’s link to any possible terrorist connections. I have respect for the work they do when they are focused and on point. I think they’ll sift through this and get to the truth.
Six: Thank you Mark Vaughn for stopping this tragedy before it got worse.
Seven: Our prayers and thoughts should be for Colleen Hufford and Traci Johnson, both of them unarmed, innocent women who were simply at work, doing their jobs.
Eight: I wrote a post earlier, entitled Britain, You’ve Got a Problem. Does this mean America also has the same problem?
The Vatican laicized Jozef Wesolowski, the former nuncio to the Dominican Republic, for having sex with minors earlier this year. Now, they’ve put him on house arrest.
From Catholic News Agency:
Vatican City, Sep 23, 2014 / 05:45 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- The Holy See press officer announced Tuesday that Jozef Wesolowski, the former apostolic nuncio to the Dominican Republic who was laicized earlier this year, has been put under house arrest amid an official investigation into charges of pedophilia.
He is accused of having paid for sex with minors while nuncio to the Dominican Republic.
“The seriousness of the allegations has prompted the official investigation to impose a restrictive measure that … consists of house arrest, with its related limitations, in a location within the Vatican City State,” Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., said Sept. 23.
“The initiative taken by the judicial departments of Vatican City State is a result of the express desire of the Pope, so that a case so serious and delicate would be addressed without delay, with just and necessary rigor, and with full assumption of responsibility on the part of the institutions that are governed by the Holy See.”
Wesolowski, 66, has been placed under house arrest, rather than being jailed in Vatican City’s prison, due to his health condition.
The Pope has also dismissed a Paraquayan bishop accused of protecting a priest suspected of sexually abusing young people.
(Reuters) – Pope Francis has dismissed a Paraguayan bishop accused of protecting a priest suspected of sexually abusing young people, the Vatican said on Thursday.
A statement said the pope had removed Bishop Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano from his post as head of the diocese of Ciudad del Este and named another bishop to run it as an administrator for the time being.
The sacking followed a Vatican investigation of the bishop, the diocese and its seminaries, said the statement, which gave no details.
Vatican sources said the bishop had refused to resign after the investigation and reports of irregularities in his diocese and clashes between the conservative Livieres Plano and other bishops in the country.
The Argentinian-born pontiff has vowed zero tolerance of clerics who abuse minors, after church scandals in several countries over many years. Last May, Francis called such abuse an “ugly crime” and likened it to “a Satanic mass”.
This is how these things should have been handled all along. What a difference it would have made if they had been.
The US is bombing oil refineries ISIS is using to fund their murderous onslaught on the people of the Middle East. Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates also participated in the air strikes.
We also need to prosecute the “businessmen” who are buying and selling this oil. There should be ways to do this through international law. They are participants in genocide and other crimes against humanity.
From Business Insider:
In an oil field in northeastern Syria, trucks line up daily to load crude sold cheaply by Islamic State militants who have hijacked parts of the country’s energy industry in their bid to build a caliphate.
Sales at Shadada field, described by an oil trader, are just one example of how the group, which has seized land in war-torn Syria and neighboring Iraq, is creating its own economy through a series of pragmatic trades.
It is cutting deals with local traders and buyers, even businessmen who support Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and some of its oil has made its way back to government buyers through a series of middlemen.
“Islamic State makes not less than $2 million daily that allows them to pay salaries and maintain their operations,” said a former Western oil executive who worked in a foreign oil firm operating in Syria before the crisis and who is familiar with the nascent oil market
Alton Nolan, a fired employee, beheaded a woman at Vaughan Foods in Moore, Oklahoma, yesterday.
He was attacking a second woman when an off duty deputy shot Nolan.
It seems that Nolan was a bad guy from jump street. He had multiple previous felony convictions, including assault and battery on a police officer and escape from detention. He was a recent convert to Islam who had been trying to convert people to that faith before the attack.
I first heard about this from a news feed that I have on my phone. At that time, it just said that there was a shooter situation at a food store in Moore.
I was on my way to a meeting — in Moore — when I saw this, so I put it aside and forgot it. This morning, my friend Kathy Shiffer sent me a message about what had actually happened.
I don’t know enough to give an opinion.
Here is the story from Fox News:
FBI officials are reportedly investigating a beheading at an Oklahoma food distribution center after co-workers said the suspect tried to convert them to Islam after his recent conversion.
The alleged suspect, Alton Nolen, 30, was recently fired from Vaughan Foods in Moore prior to Thursday’s attack. Moore Police Sgt. Jeremy Lewis told KFOR that Nolen drove to the front of the business and struck a vehicle before walking inside. He then attacked Colleen Hufford, 54, stabbing her several times before severing her head. He also stabbed another woman at the plant, 43-year-old Traci Johnson.
Lewis said Mark Vaughan, the company’s chief operating officer and a reserve county deputy, shot Nolen as he was stabbing Johnson, who remains hospitalized in stable condition Friday.
“He’s a hero in this situation,” Lewis told the station. “It could have gotten a lot worse.”
Nolen was apparently attacking employees at random, authorities said. The motive for the attack is unclear, but FBI officials are now reportedly probing whether Nolen’s recent conversion to Islam is somehow linked to the crime.
Lewis said he does not yet know what charges will be filed against Nolen, adding that police are waiting until he’s conscious to arrest him. Authorities said he had no prior connection to either woman.
Nolen, according to state corrections records, was convicted in January 2011 of multiple felony drug offenses, assault and battery on a police officer and escape from detention. He was released from prison in March 2013.
Eric Holder will announce later today that he is going to resign as Attorney General of the United States. He is said to be planning to stay in his office until his successor is in place.
From Fox News:
Attorney General Eric Holder plans to announce Thursday that he is resigning from the Obama administration, officials confirmed to Fox News. The decision would cap a tumultuous six-year term for the nation’s top law enforcement official.
Holder is one of the few Cabinet officials to have stayed on since the beginning of the Obama presidency. A Justice Department official said Holder has agreed to remain on the job until his successor is confirmed.
According to the official, Holder has discussed his plans with Obama on “multiple occasions” in recent months.
“[He] finalized those plans in an hour-long conversation with the president at the White House residence over Labor Day weekend,” the official said. The official added that Holder has “no immediate plans” after leaving the post.
The German Ethics Committee, which is described as “a government committee” and which appears to have some sort of legitimacy, has labeled laws against incest “unacceptable” because they “don’t allow the right to sexual self-determination.
This is especially interesting since the European Court of Human Rights ruled in April in favor of the German law making incest illegal. The case was based on the conviction of a man who had an incestuous relationship with his sister that began when the girl was 16 and he was 23.
The committee uses the same old arguments we’ve heard in the gay marriage context.
In case you need a refresher, here are a few snapshots:
fundamental right to sexual self-determination
criminalizing private behavior
incestuous couples are forced to live in secret
individual rights outweigh abstractions such as “family”
2% to 4% of Germans do it.
fundamental freedoms have been violated
must deny their love
“we just want to lead a normal life”
We heard it over and over and over again. Gay marriage would not lead to polygamy. But before the gay marriage deal is fully set, the agitation for normalizing polygamy through the media and legalizing polygamy through the courts is going gangbusters.
We heard it over and over and over again. Gay marriage would not bother anyone. “If you oppose gay marriage, don’t get gay married,” the slogan went. But small business people all over the country have been drug into court because they didn’t want to become unwilling participants in gay weddings in violation of their religious beliefs.
I don’t remember anyone even asking if gay marriage would lead to incest. That seemed too off the wall. But, sadly, the line of argument used to create a phony-baloney claim that two men or two women are the same as a man and a woman has no limit to the things it can justify.
The reason for this is simple: The claims about gay marriage have no basis in reality. I’m not talking about the legitimate claims of homosexual people that they are human beings and American citizens and that they should be treated fairly and without discrimination under the law.
I am talking about codifying a fantasy scenario in which homosexual couples are the same as a marriage between a man and woman. Twisting your mind around to force it to think that this lie is truth destroys rational thought. It requires saying that you see what you don’t see until you begin to actually see what is not there.
This kind of delusional thinking, and the arguments on which it is based, lead to a ever-broadening set of delusions. Human beings are categorizing, if-this-is-true/then-this-must-also-be-true kind of thinkers. When the basic if-this-is-true premises of our thinking become tainted with forced acceptance of delusional lies, the ability to respond rationally to anything and everything related to it slides off the table and smashes itself into pieces.
That appears to be what has happened with the German Ethics Committee. I don’t know anything about German governance, but it seems that this committee has some sort of law-making recommendation ability. I say that because German Chancellor Angela Merkel responded seriously to the committee’s recommendation that Germany legalize incest.
I’m guessing that this puts their recommendation somewhat ahead of a vote taken by the ladies neighborhood flower arranging society of Frankfurt.
Will Germany jump on this parade and legalize incest?
Based on Chancellor Merkel’s response, I don’t think that’s going to happen right away. But the arguments are in place and the persistent lobbying has begun.
Unless we shake off this mass delusion, it’s only a matter of time.
From The Independent:
Germany’s national ethics council has called for an end to the criminalisation of incest between siblings after examining the case of a man who had four children with his sister.
Patrick Stuebing, who was adopted as an infant and met his sister in his 20s, has launched several appeals since being imprisoned for incest in 2008 and his lengthy legal battle has prompted widespread public debate.
Sexual relations between siblings or between parents and their children are forbidden under section 173 of the German criminal code and offenders can face years in prison.
But on Wednesday, the German Ethics Council recommended the section be repealed, arguing that the risk of disability in children is not enough to warrant the law and de-criminalising incest would not remove the huge social taboo around it.
The chairman of the council, Christiane Woopen, was among the 14 members voting in favour of repealing section 173, while nine people voted for the ban to continue and two abstained.
A statement released on Wednesday said: “Incest between siblings appears to be very rare in Western societies according to the available data but those affected describe how difficult their situation is in light of the threat of punishment.
“They feel their fundamental freedoms have been violated and are forced into secrecy or to deny their love.
Iraq’s Prime Minister, Haider al-Abadi, says that his country’s intelligence systems have uncovered a plot to attack “underground railway systems” in the United States and Paris.
He further said that he did not know the timing of the planned attacks, but did feel that they had not been thwarted. Suspects “included extremists from the United States and France who were fighting” for ISIS in Iraq.
From ABC News:
Iraq’s prime minister said Thursday his country’s intelligence operation has uncovered a plot for an attack on subway systems in the United States and Paris.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said he was told of the plot by Baghdad, and that it was the work of foreign fighters of the Islamic State group in Iraq. There was no immediate comment from Washington or Paris, and al-Abadi’s assertion could not be independently confirmed.
Asked if the attacks were imminent, he said, “I’m not sure.” Asked if the attacks had been thwarted, he said, “No.” Al-Abadi said the United States had been alerted, and that the suspects included extremists from the United States and France who were fighting for the Islamic State group in Iraq.
“Today, while I’m here I’m receiving accurate reports from Baghdad that there were arrests of a few elements and there were networks from inside Iraq to have attacks … on metros of Paris and U.S.,” al-Abadi said, speaking in English. “They are not Iraqis. Some of them are French, some of them are Americans. But they are in Iraq.”
I watched another video of another helpless man being used as a trophy before he was beheaded by a group of satanic savages.
This victim was different from the previous ones in that he was French, rather than English or American, and he was only a tourist on a hiking trip in an area far away from the fighting.
Herve Gourdel was not subjected to months and years of captivity before his murder. He lost his life shortly after his kidnapping.
It has been reported that his murderers are an off-shoot of al-Qeada who announced that they were at ISIS’ service in the video. It really sounds as if they’re trying to join up with ISIS and used this murder a way of making the offer.
It was difficult, watching the video. I don’t think I can watch any more of them.
What I am going to do is pray a Rosary for Mr Gourdel’s soul.
From The Gaurdian:
President François Hollande has confirmed that a French citizen kidnapped in Algeria was beheaded by militants linked to Islamic State (Isis), and said the murder would only serve to reinforce his determination to support efforts against the jihadists.
The group calling itself Jund al-Khilafah – or Soldiers of the Caliphate – released a video that appeared to depict the beheading of Hervé Gourdel, 55, a mountain guide from Nice who had only arrived in Algeria the previous day. The video was entitled Message in Blood for the French Government.
In a speech at the United Nations in New York, Hollande said the killing would not prompt France to abandon military action against Isis and that it would continue to fight terrorism everywhere. “The perpetrators of this odious crime must be punished,” Hollande said.
The militants said that the murder of the Frenchman was a response to his government’s action against Isis in Iraq, where France launched its first air strikes last Friday.
The video shows Gourdel kneeling, with his arms tied behind his back, in front of four masked militants who read out a statement in Arabic criticising France’s military intervention. They then pushed him on his side and held him down.
The beheading is not shown, but one militant holds his severed head up to the camera. “This is why the Soldiers of the Caliphate in Algeria have decided to punish France, by executing this man, and to defend our beloved Islamic State,” one of the militants said in the video.
Gourdel briefly addressed his family before the militants gave their statement.
He was seized in the Djurdjua mountains, a range 2,000 metres high that have been described by one climber as a “dream for those who love mountains”, which was a particular interest of his.
“The irony is that for many years he trained mountain guides in Morocco,” a friend, Laurent Gény, told Le Point magazine. “He was someone who was a profoundly good person, very human, who loved Maghreban culture.
Nobody knows but me.
That is the lament of victims of discrimination and violence throughout time.
They are trapped in the unimaginable alone experienced by people who fall into the hands of human monsters. It is impossible to describe the depth of terror, horror, pain and absolute, total and complete isolation that is part of the shock of being helpless in the hands of satan’s disciples on this earth.
The survivors can’t tell of it, not really. Because if they try, there are no words. Because if they try, they find that they are speaking to blank walls of incomprehension and denial.
The rest of us don’t want to hear these stories because they remind us of our own deep helplessness. People who have never looked into the pitiless eyes of satan in another person’s face and known that they were his to do with as he chose, do not want to consider that the only thing separating them from a similar fate is geography or chance.
There is nothing special about American Christians that we have not been subjected to the violence that attacks other Christians around the world. We are not more faithful. We are not more holy. Quite the opposite.
The difference between them and us is a matter of government. It is not innate in ourselves. The tightening noose of social discrimination that Christians face here either is a harbinger of worse to come or not, and that, whether we want to accept it or not, does depend on us.
We can choose to fight back and not go there. We can boycott the products of media outlets that defame us. We can speak out about our faith and defend ourselves.
Christians who live in places where killing Christians is always a question and not an anathema, live their lives under a genocidal Sword of Damocles.
We can not turn our backs on them and their stories of great suffering because it upsets us to be reminded that satan walks the earth in human form. We must not avoid them for fear that satan will come at us through the rage we feel over their suffering, that standing witness for them can open a doorway to satan in our own hearts.
People are suffering and dying for Christ, and it is our vocation in these times to stand witness.
Christians in the Middle East and in much of Africa are suffering their own Shoah. They are being annihilated and driven from their homes. They are being kidnapped, raped and sold into slavery.
The satanic barbarity of ISIS, Boko Haram, the Islamic Brotherhood and al-Qaeda are a testament to what giving your heart to satan and following him can turn people into. These men who do these things are fallen, fallen, fallen. They are satan’s disciples.
They are fallen, but the Christians they murder are lifted up. They are martyrs to Our Lord in the same way that Christians have been martyred for Jesus throughout our history. They are His saints. Every Christian that ISIS and Boko Haram murders goes to heaven. And each one of their murderers — unless they face the horrible reality of what they have done and repent from the heart — is destined for the flames of eternal hell. They will burn there alongside Hitler, Pol Pot, Idi Amin, Stalin, Osama bin Laden and all their followers.
No matter how they lie to themselves, these things they do are not of God. They are from the pit.
Our job, dear brothers and sisters, is to stand witness to our fallen brothers and sisters in Christ. We must tell their stories. We must lift them and their sacrifice up because they are being lifted up in the exact way that Our Lord was and for the same reason, so that the world can see them and be healed by turning to Him.
We need healing desperately in this world, and that healing we need can only come from one place: The Cross.
When we witness the violent persecution of Christians, we are seeing a re-enactment of Calvary in our world right in front of our eyes, today. Every Christian who suffers and dies at the hands of these satanic human monsters is Christ crucified again in real time in front of our eyes.
Can you wait with me one hour? Jesus asked Peter, James and John.
Will you run away from me again? He asks us. Will you shout crucify Him! as they did? Or, will you just walk away and hide your faces because bearing witness hurts too much?
We must stand witness to these our brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering and dying for Him. We must. It is our charge, our call and duty. It is our vocation before God.
We must write about them and develop a literature for them as the Jews did for those who died in the Holocaust. Because this is another holocaust. It is the holocaust of Christians in an entire region of the world.
Satan’s lessor disciples; the ones who make fun of Christian persecution and who try to bully into silence those of us who must bear witness, are our small cross. Their carping bits of nastiness should be meaningless to us. Offer up whatever pangs you feel for those who have died and pray for those who do this, then keep on keeping on bearing witness to the truth of this martyrdom of a whole people for their faith in Christ.
It is painful and exhausting to stand witness to atrocity. But we must do it, and we must do it in the Lord.
Any lessor action would be running away from Him all over again.
Oklahoma City’s Archbishop Emeritus Eusebius Beltran was a gift to our state when he led us.
He was always willing to take the hard step up to the plate to defend the human person from the ravages of discrimination and hate.
About 10 years ago, Oklahoma passed an outrageous law aimed at Hispanics. This law made it a crime to help people, even when they were in dire situations, who had entered this country illegally. It was so draconian that it cut right across the mission of every Christian to serve and love the “least of these.” It was, in truth and in fact, a Jim Crow law for Hispanics.
I actually debated this point when I spoke against this law. I dug out the vote on the original Jim Crow law that Oklahoma had passed not long after statehood.
Do you want your name on a list like this, I asked my fellow legislators, pointing to the votes. It did no good. The state Republicans had whipped the public into a mindless and vicious anti-Hispanic hatred in order to win elections, and even legislators who saw that this law was a crime against God voted for it for fear of losing their next election.
My own district, which was a mix of all sorts of people — a true “rainbow” district of skin colors — was in a welter over it. Later, when the pro abortion people tried to defeat me in an election, they made an attempt to use that stand against this law to defeat me.
I had to take another stand, this time in my district, and tell the people there that I would not vote for something like this, and that if they wanted a racist who attacked people for political gain, then they should not vote for me. I won that election by a huge margin, with the full support of every racial group in the district.
What that meant — and continues to mean — to me is that the people of District 89 are far better people than you will find in much of the rest of our good state. They are some of the best people you will find anywhere.
Archbishop Beltran did not have the luxury of speaking to and for the Catholics of a small part of Oklahoma, like my House district. He wasn’t dealing with people who had known him all his life. He had to deal with the irascible and diverse Catholic population of his archdiocese. Many of the Catholics were just as thoroughly whipped up into anti-Hispanic hatred as the rest of the state.
So, when their Archbishop came out against this law with the full force of his prophetic and moral voice as their religious leader, they were irate with him for doing so. He did not let that stop him at all. The Catholic Church in Oklahoma stood tall against this dastardly legislation, just as it had stood for life and human dignity in an absolutely reliable way for years.
The Church was not able to stop passage of the law, but the Church, by taking this stand, raised the issue of the moral responsibility of lawmakers in an arena which was operating by a faux morality that justified harming other people. The Catholic Church was alone in taking a stand against this law. Others joined later, but in the beginning, the only voice against it was the Catholic Church.
The priests who were on the priest council here in Oklahoma all signed a declaration saying that they would not obey this unjust law. The statement declared that they would minister to everyone, regardless of ethnicity or legal status, even if doing so meant that they would go to jail.
These men made me proud to be Catholic. More than that, they made me feel that the Church was a refuge for those who were without other refuge, that Christ really did animate what they were doing as His priests. They sent the message with that statement that the Church was for real.
That taught me a simple lesson that I’ve seen enacted again and again around the world. When people are totally abandoned by everyone; when they become the object of such universal hatred that anyone who stands up for them is taking a big risk, the Church is their refuge.
That is what happened to black people during the long dark night of segregation. The black churches not only created community, they ennobled a people. Their message of Christ saved black Americans from falling absolutely into the pit of rageful despair which would have destroyed them in an absolute way that Jim Crow could not.
Archbishop Beltran was a young priest in Atlanta at the time of the Civil Rights Movement. He knew Martin Luther King, Jr. Father Beltran did in that time what Archbishop Betran did later. He stood with the weak and the hated against the powerful haters who wanted to destroy them. Archbishop Beltran marched with Martin Luther King when it was a dangerous thing to do. He marched with his bishop’s permission, but with the understanding that if he was arrested, his bishop would not try to get him out of jail.
This was a time when jail was a witness to truth. Father Beltran marched with the understanding that he might have to be just such a witness.
Among the many wonderful things that Archbishop Beltran did, he wrote a pastoral letter about violence against women. I treasure this deeply. The Church needs to use its moral and prophetic voice to speak out more decisively against violence against women. It could make such a difference if it did.
The Sooner Catholic recently published an article, discussing Archbishop Emeritus Beltran’s experiences in the Civil Rights movement. Here is a brief excerpt.
From the Sooner Catholic:
On a steamy Georgia morning in March 1965, Father Eusebius Beltran and three of his brother priests piled into the four-door sedan they borrowed from the Archdiocese of Atlanta and headed south toward Selma, Ala.
It had been two days since they’d heard news of a police shooting and beatings during a protest march in Selma that would later become known as “Bloody Sunday.”
The men were not strangers to marches during the Civil Rights Movement, having marched many times through the streets of Atlanta to protest discrimination by schools, restaurants, bus stations and other public venues. But, they hadn’t marched in a protest like this. The Selma marches became a national spark to protest the ongoing exclusion of African-American voters from the electoral process and from the discrimination they faced.
At the urging of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who they’d spoken with often at his father’s Baptist church, the Catholic priests sought approval from Archbishop Hallinan for the road trip to Selma and use of the archdiocese’s car.
“He told me that he wanted to see the boys, the priests, who were going with me before we left,” said Archbishop Beltran, who is now Archbishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of Oklahoma City.
“The four of us went to see Archbishop Hallinan in the hospital and that’s when he asked us ‘Do you guys know what you’re doing? Do you realize you’re breaking the law? Do you know that you could go to jail? And, that if you go to jail, I want to let you know I will not bail you out because part of standing for the truth is you take the punishment, and that’s part of the punishment.’ We said we all knew that, and he said ‘OK, God bless you.’”
After a nervous 4-hour drive to Selma, the priests each claimed a mattress on the floor of a hallway at the Catholic church and headed to join the crowds at a pre-march pep rally.
“The whole thing was well-organized and there was always a spokesman up there who was giving directions, reminding people no violence and to be ready to take a beating. It was scary in a way, but when you’re young, you don’t think about it. And, it had to be done too. It was part of the movement at that time. Selma brought together everything we were working toward.”
The next day, the march began in the same way it had two days earlier. Dr. King led the way across the Edmund Pettus Bridge where the group of more than 2,500 marchers were met by state troopers. Since a judge had issued a court order prohibiting the marchers from continuing to Montgomery, Ala., they turned around and marched back to the church without incident. (Later that evening, three white pastors were attacked by members of the Klu Klux Klan, killing one Universalist pastor after the public hospital refused treatment.)
Following the second march, which became known as “Turnaround Tuesday,” Father Beltran and his crew returned to Atlanta where they continued their meetings and marches for several years – including a march to protest a segregated chicken restaurant owned by Lester Maddox, who later became Georgia’s governor.
This is Archbishop Coakley’s excellent homily from yesterday’s Benediction and Eucharistic procession in response of the black mass that took place in Oklahoma City.
September 21, 2014
St. Francis of Assisi Church
The Most Reverend Paul S. Coakley
Archbishop, Archdiocese of Oklahoma City
Praised be Jesus Christ! It is my great privilege to welcome you to St. Francis of Assisi Church and to spend this hour together with the Lord in prayer and adoration. Thank you for being here. Your presence is a powerful witness of faith in the midst of what has been a particularly challenging time for our community. I would like to gratefully acknowledge the participation of our Catholic people from around the Archdiocese but also those of you who have come from near and far to join us today. I am especially grateful for the presence of my brother bishops (and their support), Archbishop Beltran, Bishop Slattery of Tulsa, Bishop Kemme of Wichita and so many priests, deacons and religious women and men. It is a special blessing to recognize here so many Christian leaders and believers from other churches and ecclesial communities who have come to join us in prayer as well.
We gather today in the presence of our Eucharistic Lord who is the source of our unity, imperfect though it might be, and our bond of charity. We just heard our Lord proclaim: “I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world.” For Catholics these words from the sixth chapter of St. John’s Gospel are the very heart of our understanding and appreciation of the Holy Eucharist. Jesus does not speak metaphorically when he says, “Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him on the last day. For my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink. Whoever eats my flesh and drinks my blood remains in me and I in him.” It is truly Jesus whom we encounter and receive in the Holy Eucharist.
At times, Christians have argued over the theological significance of these words. Satan, on the other hand, hears these words and trembles. The Eucharist has been at the heart of the current controversy over the so-called black mass which (which to our shame as a city) is being allowed to proceed this evening at the Civic Center Music Hall. That blasphemous and sacrilegious ritual is a mockery of the Catholic Mass that requires for its consummation the corruption and desecration of the Eucharist. Why? Because Satanists, and their master, know who is present. They acknowledge the Real Presence of the Lord Jesus, not to adore him, but only to mock and to scorn in hatred.
I think many people in our community haven’t understood the persistence of our efforts nor the depth of our outrage over this blasphemy largely because they do not share our faith. They do not understand, or accept, what we believe to be true. They do not share our faith in what we Catholics (and many other Christians) acknowledge to be the greatest gift that the Lord has entrusted to the Church: the gift of his own Body and Blood in the Blessed Sacrament. The Eucharist, instituted by the Lord at the Last Supper and entrusted to the Apostles is truly the Lord’s abiding Presence among us. It is really and substantially spiritual food for our pilgrim journey and the pledge of future glory in the Heavenly Banquet. It is the bread of angels given to men.
We are not here, however, to protest. Let us put aside, for the moment, our outrage. We are here to praise and to adore. We are here to give thanks for the gift of our faith and the priceless treasure of the Lord’s abiding presence with us in the Sacrament of His Body and Blood. We are gathered before our Eucharistic Lord to listen to his holy Word and open ourselves to the promptings of his Spirit so that we might become more faithful and authentic witnesses of his love and mercy in the midst of our broken and suffering human family.
We are also here to offer our petitions to the Lord, that he might deliver us from the power of sin and, yes, from all demonic influences. We are here to offer our prayers in reparation for the blasphemous outrages being committed against our Lord, against his Church and the Eucharist in these days. Our city has also been the target of these dark forces of hatred that seek not to build up, but only to destroy. We beg the Lord’s protection through the intercession of his Holy angels and saints.
We are gathered as witnesses to hope at a time when darkness seems to be gaining ground both here and around the world. We know that Christ is victorious! He has conquered Satan. He has destroyed the reign of sin and the power of death through his holy Cross and glorious Resurrection. Through faith and Baptism we already share in his victory. The war has been won, though skirmishes will continue until Christ comes again in glory to reign forever. In the meantime we have been enlisted to bear the standard of the Cross and our share of the sufferings of Christ for the sake of his Body, the Church.
We gather here in prayer. We gather to adore, to praise and to give thanks, to beg the Lord’s mercy on our city, our nation and our world. We pray for our own continuing conversion that we might be holy and courageous witnesses.
Our faith is not meant to be (and cannot remain) contained within the walls of this beautiful church. Our Eucharistic Procession through the neighborhood beyond these walls which will follow in a few minutes is a reminder that we, the Church, are present in the world as light, as salt and as leaven to bring hope and the offer of Christ’s salvation to all we meet. Let us pray that we might embrace our mandate to live as missionary disciples in the midst of the world so that we might draw all people to Jesus Christ and to safe harbor in his Church.
Nuns Off a Bus. Sisters, arriving at the Benediction.
I don’t know what to say about the whole “black mass” deal.
They did their uggidy-buggidy thingamajig.
I didn’t get near it. And I’m not going to get near it now. If you want to read about the uggidy-buggidy black mass and the brain-dead fools who attended it, google is ready when you are. You’ll find none of that here.
I went to the Holy Hour and Bendiction conducted by Archbishop Coakley. I suppose I could begin writing about all this by telling you that, based on what I experienced, this was a real deal.
I had a hard time getting to the Holy Hour and Benediction. All day the day before I experienced the most dreadful spiritual crisis I have been through since I converted to the Catholic Church. My mind was deluged with negative thoughts, to the point that I began to wonder if I even was Catholic or had a right to enter any Church.
Then, at mass that evening, I prayed and prayed and it let up.
Later that night, I got hit with a sudden and rather violent gastrointestinal thing.
It was at that point that I finally recognized old scratch.
The next day, I thought about skipping the whole Benediction. I felt so terrible, and now I was tormented with thoughts that I might meet a particular person there who had hurt me in the past and who I dread ever seeing again.
I prayed, and knew that I needed to go.
I told a friend of mine that all this made me feel as if the devil thought that if Rebecca Hamilton showed up at this Benediction he would be cast back into hell. I told her that if other people were getting a dose of what I was getting, I feared that the church might be empty.
But, despite all this, I went.
And what I experienced was the Presence and Love of Christ.
There were a lot of young people wearing red t-shirts with Oklahoma on the front. The back read Sooner Born, Catholic Bred.
That’s a play on an Okie saying: I’m Sooner born and Sooner bred and when I die, I’ll be Sooner dead.
The prayer service was, for me, an exorcism of sorts. I prayed more deeply than I have in many months, and during the praying I went down into the seamy side of my own soul and confessed sins I had walked into that service not knowing I was harboring. It was cleansing, renewing and deeply, deeply humbling in the most beautiful way possible.
I think the reason that the devil had such a good go at me before the Benediction was that he had his claws hooked into me already. Writing about ISIS, seeing the photos of what they’ve done to people, is a gateway for satan. That came on top the raw hurt and anger I have about a gay friend of mine who dumped our lifelong friendship (which was as close as family; he was my brother) and who then went out on the internet to attack me — all over gay marriage. Then, there was that person I mentioned, the one I was afraid I would encounter at the Benediction. I had allowed myself to become a seething pit of resentment because of them.
The first two, personal, things, made me an easy target. But ISIS, which is satanic through and through, raised it to an active rageful anger. ISIS, Boko Haram, and all their stepbrothers, are satanic. Their beheadings, rapes, kidnappings, buying and selling of women and children, church burnings and genocides are just as much a black mass as what happened in Oklahoma City yesterday. When they say they do these things in the name of God, they add unspeakable blasphemy on top of their unspeakable actions.
The difference is that, for all its crudity, satan takes off his mask in the black mass and comes out as himself. When he gets inside people and uses them as his instruments on a governmental scale, what you get is Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, ISIS, Boko Haram and al-Qaeda. I don’t know what you get when he comes out as himself as he did yesterday (except a carny sideshow conducted by a convicted rapist) but I do know that Christ is fully able to cast him down with a flick of the finger. I experienced that in a profound and deeply personal way yesterday.
I don’t know about the other people at the Benediction, but I needed what I got there. I barely managed to force myself to go, and what I experienced was a deeply cleansing encounter with Our Lord. It was, for me, a small and much-needed exorcism.
I was in the overflow in the church gymnasium. I got there an hour early, and the gym was already mostly full. I sat on a folding chair on what was then the back row. Later, they added more chairs behind me.
The Eucharistic Procession. I was near the back of the line.
I took bad photos with my iPhone and settled in. It wasn’t until the Benediction entered into its first time of private prayer that I plunged, head first, into a dialogue with Jesus. I found myself, my real self, in that time of prayer. I saw my sins, my need to forgive and how deeply God loves me. One thing that came to mind is so simple and powerful.
Before I went to the Benediction, I prayed and asked if, considering how really lousy I was feeling, I had to go. And He answered me.
Think about that.
God, the God who made the deep reaches of space and time and everything there is everywhere there is, stooped down and answered me. Who am I that God should notice my existence, much less engage in dialogue with me and answer my prayers?
He cares. He cares about us. He loves you and me and everyone else. Think about that, my brothers and sisters. Let it roll around in your mind and consider the magnitude of what it means to say, I prayed and He answered me.
He loves each and everyone of us. He enters into dialogue with us, despite our silly and limited little brains and our flawed and sinful souls. He loves us.
Let me say that again: He loves us.
By their fruits you shall know them.
Jesus said that. And it is true.
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. St Paul told us that, and it is also true.
When I read that list, I know — know — how far I am from truly walking with the Lord. God offers me love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. I nibble at these things, like someone sampling a salad bar.
But I save a huge portion of my spiritual plate for resentments, angers, self-righteousness, fear, blame and shame.
The truth is, to the extent that we cling to and protect ourselves, we deny ourselves the free gifts of the spirit. We have to lay it all down on the altar and trust Him.
That doesn’t, never has, come easily for me. I am not a trusting person. If I ever was a trusting person, happenings in my life have knocked it out of me. It is as if someone somewhere decided to teach me one thing and then to reteach it over and again throughout my life: You can’t trust people.
People will turn on you on a dime. People will abandon you when you are in disgrace. People will betray your confidences, search out and display your shames and, when you need them most, deny they ever knew you.
Does that sound familiar? It should. I began that paragraph writing about my own life experiences, and ended it with the realization that I was also writing about the Passion of Our Lord.
He wants to love us.
Why, I do not know.
But He does. And He wants it so much that He became one of us and allowed us to treat Him the way we do one another. He allowed satan to gloat and howl with delight as He was humiliated, stripped, tortured and murdered.
If the degradations of humanity that take place at the hands of satan’s disciples in ISIS, Boko Haram and all the other haters of humanity that stalk our world are a black mass, then, they also are, despite their evil intentions, the reenactment of His Passion. The victims of ISIS are the ultimate Eucharist, in human form. When I am writing about the victims of ISIS, and all its evil twins, I am writing about Him, and His Passion.
Satan intended his little uggidy-buggidy carny show to harm Christ. He can’t get at God, so he tries to get at God through us. He can do that because God loves us.
I allowed myself to become so overwhelmed by the evils of our day, and the sadness of humans hurting one another in my private life, that I gave him purchase in my own soul.
If the black mass was meant as a way into our world for satan, it backfired, at least where I am concerned. I experienced a little exorcism at the Benediction yesterday. God brought me back, snug against His side once again.
For this I am both awestruck and grateful.
Archbishop Coakley, holding the Host aloft.
I am having a blest life. In some ways, it is almost a charmed life.
I say that, not because everything has come easily to me, or because nothing bad ever happened to me. I say it because, in ways that I won’t talk about here, my life is one gigantic save.
I’m a survivor in that I’ve walked — sometimes crawled — away from a lot of crap.
I’m a survivor in that I’ve walked — oftentimes crying my eyes out — away from a lot of betrayal from people I trusted and loved.
I’m a survivor in that I’ve walked right through — oftentimes bitter and angry about it as I did it — right through repeated barrages of very public slams and whams.
I’m not writing this to talk about my grandiose survivability. In truth, I’ve survived things that should have put me down in the dirt because my surviving was to God’s purpose. I don’t understand it all, but it may have been, in a small part, so that I can write this post and say these things today.
Surviving requires one consistent thing of you, and that one thing is more difficult than all the gritty endurance that goes along with it: You can not allow yourself to be defined by other people.
If you are going to survive in this world you must — must — learn to think for yourself about yourself. You cannot allow any person’s cruel assessments of you determine your fate or your relationship with God.
I am writing today about one specific kind of person and one specific type of cruel assessment. I mean clergy and their condemnations and cruelties toward people who get on their bad side.
To my knowledge, there is no kind of clergy — Protestant, Catholic, Jew, Muslim — who is immune to this dastardly misuse of clerical power. They are especially prone to it when someone challenges what they see as their authority, or when someone does something they find deplorable, or, most damning for them, when their followers get into a group hate of some poor hapless soul and they join in to keep them from turning on their preacher/priest/rabbi/imam.
As I said, this post is not the place where I’m going to talk about my deepest wounds. But I will talk about one very public happening that devastated me at the time. That very public happening was the very public refusal of a number of prominent protestant clergy to accept me as a Christian after I met Jesus. One of these clergy was someone who knew me, knew how sincere I was, and who joined in with his “brother” clergy rather than stand up for me.
I made the mistake of trying to talk to these pastors. That was more damaging to me as a Christian and a person than their initial — and I want to emphasize this, very pubic — attack against me had been.
It was, as I said devastating. I felt as if I had been cast out, banned, from Christianity.
It was one of the only times in my life when I hid in my bedroom for several days and wouldn’t get out of bed and just cried. I stopped going to church and withdrew from everyone but my family.
I stopped everything except believing in Jesus. That didn’t change or weaken. If anything, it grew stronger.
This wasn’t my first time to be attacked by clergy. Being attacked by clergy was my daily meat and bread during my first time in office. However, that didn’t bother me on any deep level. I was in my anti-God period at the time, and they couldn’t touch me inside my soul. I already thought they were cruel, so their behavior was little more than a confirmation.
The ability of clergy to do deep, permanent harm to another person is in direct proportion to how much that other person believes they are dealing with someone who speaks for God. When they cast off someone or “ban” them, they can only actually hurt the person who believes in their authority.
Their followers, the seekers and believers who look to them for leadership and relate to them in trust are the ones they can harm. Because nobody else gives a care what they think.
The fact that clergy can persuade people and that this persuasion can manifest in votes in elections has made them the target of a lot of people who don’t really give a care about what they think. This isn’t a matter of taking them seriously as men of God. It is a matter of tactical power politics. It’s a huge mistake to confuse that with the anguish and broken heartedness of those who believe and are seeking acceptance and love.
The person who saved me from total, absolute and permanent alienation from all organized religion was an Episcopal priest. I cold-called her because she was a woman. I could never have gone to a man. She didn’t know me, but she readily agreed to talk to me, came in to her office one day when the church was empty, just to meet me.
She saved me from the despair I was feeling, not so much by any deep eloquence, as her affirmation that I had a right to be there.
That whole experience taught me a number of lessons. It also deepened and re-taught me things I already knew.
First, I am convinced that women have a profound and necessary place in ministry. Men are only half the human race, and when they deal from positions of power with the other half of the human race, they can be extremely cruel.
Second, I know that surviving requires a refusal to give yourself over entirely to other people, and that includes clergy of all types. Because, in truth and no matter what they claim, they do not speak for God. Not always. They never speak for God when they are defending their power and privilege, when they are limiting God’s love and mercy to those whom they like or want to support. When they do that they are speaking from the depths of their own black and sinful hearts,
Third, no one, of any faith, is ever obligated to accept any other person’s degrading and destroying abandonment or cruel assessment of them as if that degradation, abandonment and cruelty is a judgement from God.
Because it does not come from God and is not His judgement. Degradation, abandonment, cruelty are not of God. Ever.
It is foolishness in the extreme to allow yourself to think that clergy are exempt from these sins. It can destroy your faith in Christ, Who, in the final analysis, is perfectly capable of speaking for Himself.
I want to emphasize that last point because it is so critical. I am a living testimony to that fact that Jesus Christ is absolutely capable of dealing with a fallen person directly and saving them all on His own.
In all my years of anti-Godism, I was roundly and soundly rebuked by various religious leaders. I was lied about and slandered from the pulpit on a regular basis. But I never had a single member of the clergy try to talk to me as one human being to another. I never had a member of the clergy talk to me about Jesus and actually try to convert me. Not once.
Years later, after my conversion, a member of the clergy in my district — who was the only one who had never lied about me — told me that he had once asked his fellow pastors, “Do any of you ever pray for Rebecca?” He said no one answered him.
There were people who did talk to me about Jesus, they even argued with me about my anti-Godism. Both of them were fellow legislators. One of them argued gently, lovingly. The other argued loudly and aggressively. Both of them had an impact on me.
I am writing this very personal and somewhat confessional post for one purpose. I want those reading it to realize that no person has the power to cast you away from the forgiveness and love of Christ.
Not only is the love of Christ greater than any sin you can commit, it is greater by far than the self-importance and narrow me-ism of all these bishops/priests/rabbis/imams who lay claim to Him and try to keep Him for themselves and use Him as their personal ticket to unmerited respect and power over other people.
I know this is not a very Catholic post, in spite of the fact that I am, in truth, very Catholic myself. But I am a child of the living God before I am anything else. And no one and nothing defines me other than that. This is the single great lesson of surviving that I have learned and re-learned and then re-learned again.
No person defines me. Christ defines me.
Those two sentences are the bedrock of survival in this world.
Do not let the petty wickedness of clergy and their ego-driven God-ownership issues convince you that you stand outside the circle of Christ’s beloveds. You do not.
Do not accept the cruel things they say to you as anything more than their own sinfulness. Nothing, not even Christ’s own Church, can separate you from the love of God.
Know that, and be unafraid.
ISIS continues its shameless abuse of helpless prisoners with its latest video of one of its kidnap victims.
This time, instead of a beheading video, they put British journalist John Cantile in front of the camera to tell their “story.” His comments included an indirect demand from ISIS’ for ransom money to secure Mr Cantile’s freedom, as well as a veiled threat that he would be murdered if the ransom is not forthcoming.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I do not hold anyone responsible for what they do and say when they are the helpless pawns of satanic humans. I also don’t take anything they say seriously when they are used for propaganda purposes.
I think ISIS is responding to the brute force of American bombing by trying another tactic. They may also see the British reluctance to join the bombing as a weakness in the Western response to their barbarity that they can exploit.
They evidently are highly successful at communicating with twisted young men who want to join an organization that rapes and murders. But to people with less sociopathic personalities, this mistreatment of their kidnap victims is sadistic and crude.
France bombed an ISIS depot in northeast Iraq today. President Hollande issued a statement saying there would be more raids in coming days.
This makes France the first country other than the US to strike ISIS targets.
I watched the Senate hearings about ISIS earlier this week. One point that came up during the hearings is that ISIS is in control of at least one small oil field and that the revenues from these wells are helping to fund the terrorists.
I think that should make that oil field the primary targets for our bombers. We tend to treat oil producing sites as sacrosanct. I still remember the horror expressed about Saddam Hussein’s troops setting fire to wells during the first Gulf War over 20 years ago.
My feeling is that cutting off ISIS’ funding is the first and most important thing we should do. Anything that helps fund them and their murderous actions should be demolished, or if it’s a person, imprisoned for life.
From BBC News Middle East:
French jets have carried out their first strikes against Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq, the office of President Francois Hollande says.
A statement said planes had attacked an IS depot in north-east Iraq, and there would be more raids in the coming days.
The US has carried out more than 170 air strikes against the jihadist group in Iraq since mid-August.
IS remains in control of dozens of cities and towns in Iraq and Syria, where it has declared a caliphate.
France is the first of Washington’s allies to strike at IS targets. The mission underscores the perhaps surprising military activism of the socialist French president.
He has committed his country to military interventions in Mali, Central Africa and now Iraq. The French government has made it clear that its air strikes will be restricted to IS targets in Iraq and that there will be no French troops involved in fighting on the ground.
This geographical restriction of French air operations underscores the complexity of President Obama’s stated aim of degrading and disrupting IS activities in Syria too.
That is a mission that US air power may have to take on alone and, despite the fact that Congress is moving to back a “train and equip” programme for the “moderate” Syrian opposition, there are still many questions about how effectively the counter-IS struggle can be extended to Syrian territory as well.